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Messages - Ella Mae

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Law School Admissions / Concrete or Abstract?
« on: January 29, 2005, 06:36:42 AM »
As I am plowing through texts for my UG thesis, I have come to realize that I am an unabashed theory junkie. I often find myself tuning out in classes that are all about memorizing facts and I am far more intruiged by abstract theory.  Now that I have come to terms with the fact that I am a full-on pomo nerd, I am a little worried about law school. Some people are good with the abstract, some people are good with the concrete. 

In your experience, is law school more theory based or far more about rote memorization?  How much of it is facts, and how much of it is ideas?

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Spouses and Law School
« on: January 23, 2005, 07:52:06 AM »
For those of you who have been through things similar to this, I was wonderng if you could provide some insight.  My partner & I have been together 5 years now, and we are incredibly solid.  He is beyond supportive of me going to law school, and has even offered to buy another house for me to stay in if I have to go away for LS.  However, due to a myriad of personal and professional concerns, moving is not an option for him right now. 

I have been accepted into three different schools.  One is in the same city, one is 2 hours away, one is 5 hours away. For all practical purposes, the schools are equal.  The school here would be super convenient and we wouldn't have to do any long distance stuff.  If I attend the one that is 2 hours away I could stay there during the week and come home every weekend.  The one that is 5 hours away will be much more like a long distance relationship, with the two of us only seeing each other once a month or so. 

While the school here seemed like the ideal situation at first, the more I think about it the less I am sure.  If I go away, then I know I can put 24 hours a day into school work and not feel bad about neglecting him.  If I stay here, I don't know if it will be even more frustrating to see him sitting on the couch and having to walk away from him & hide out in my office.  So close, and yet soooo far.  If I stay here, will be just a constant reminder of how much time we aren't spending together?  If I go away, will that put even greater strain on the two of us?  What have your experiences been?  Insight?  Do you think it easier or tougher to be at home during the school year?

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: You as whole person vs. you as brain
« on: January 21, 2005, 03:40:07 PM »
So what about those of you with seriously committed long term relationships (married, family, common law, etc).  How are you negotiating things?  What about concerns for aging parents?  Lifestyle of the city?  Opportunities to volunteer in the area you want to work in (ie: government town if you want to do policy/foreign service stuff, etc).

Choosing the Right Law School / You as whole person vs. you as brain
« on: January 21, 2005, 11:39:19 AM »
As admissions begin to roll in, many of us are trying to decide between schools and which ones we think are the best choices for us. How are all of you balancing you as a whole person vs. you as a brain & career? Where do personal relationships fit into your decisions? Partnerships? Family? Love of the mountains or whatever your region is? etc etc etc?

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Pick 5 CDs
« on: January 02, 2005, 07:52:51 PM »
So I'll jack the thread ever so slightly....what are your 5 desert island discs?

I think ts interesting to look at some of the joint programs that are available if you want to work in non-traditional legal fields.  For example, there are quite a few schools that offer joint programs between law and Masters programs in diverse fields like Policy, Social Work, MBA, Indigenous Governance or International Affairs.  Redsox, I can't remember which school it was but I remember seeing a joint program for law and a Masters in Environmetnal Science.  They often lighten the requirements of both degrees so you end up with both your Masters and you law degree after four years instead of taking 6 to do both seperately.  I would imagine it also helps to balance your perspectives out a bit and keep your grounding amongst classrooms full of BIGLAW fast-trackers... ;)

In terms of getting a good position proffing, law school profs aren't radically different from other streams in terms of how the get hired.  While having the word "Harvard" on your CV might get hiring committee's interest, what you have accomplished since then is the important part. Publish or perish, baby...  and that is something you have direct control over.  Start it now - there's no reason why you can't start to build your publications and conference presentations while still in your undergrad.  By the time you have your graduate law degree (LLM in Canada - don't know what it is in the US), you can have a pretty extensive list of publications regardless of what school you go to.

Its one of those fields that is pretty good about doing its own mentorship and on-the-job training.  As a whole, it is in its infancy and there are a lot of people who come into mediation from the fields of education/social work/etc.  Having legal training will put you at the top of the heap and make you very attractive to potential employers, particularly if you have shown a focus on ADR courses while doing your law degree. Obviously you don't want to start your own firm without plenty of experience, but employers will do a lot of the preliminary training for you. There are also intensive certificate programs through professional organizations and universities that focus strictly on mediation skills that would be an excellent addition to your CV and minimize additional training. You're going to have to be willing to do a couple of years at the bottom of the ladder, but that's the same with virtually any profession.

Another option to explore is mediation/ADR stuff.  Start wage isn't hot but the incomes go way up once you start working in government or establish your own consulting firm.  Far less insane hours, good pay, way more real human contact. It also tends to attract people who are more focused on collaboration rather than antagonism (a big selling feature for those hippies amongst us). I have done a fair bit of research and interviewing in this area, and it seems like the biggest drawback can be the emotional drain.  Its hard work dealing with people's raw emotions and conflict all day(if you are doing one-on-one style conflict), but its no worse than any other jobs where you deal with people in difficult situations.  You just need to find ways to seperate yourself and leave the work at the office.  Working in this field can also involve doing a lot of training for executives and gov't officials to help equip them to deal with conflict in their own environments better.  Most private ADR firms offer extensive training along with their mediation services.

You can do workplace mediation, family, human rights, etc so there is a lot of room to focus on the areas you are interested in. Its also a quickly growing field as more and more organizations put policies into making mediation a mandatory first step in cases on conflict.  Its a hell of a lot cheaper to make two people sit face to face and talk it over than to spend the next 5 years in court battles. If individual conflict isn't your style, there are also a lot more organizational level ADR stuff like labour negotiations, aborignal land claim settlements, etc. 

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Undergrad majors
« on: January 01, 2005, 09:16:01 PM »
Let's hear it for interdisciplinarity!! 

My degree is also interdisc in nature.  Double major in Human Rights and Women's Studies.  The Human Rights program is a joint program with the departments of law, sociology, philosophy and polisci.  When you're talking about genocide, you just don't have the time to bother with "this is my sandbox - go find your own" crap.

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